Nitrous Oxide or “laughing gas,” comes with extra giggles at no extra charge here at Dentistry for Children. It’s no secret that many of our young patients have a high regard for Harry Potter, and we suspect that Dr. King does also. We have often compared some of our technological dental marvels to wizarding magic. In this blog, we intend to share some of the secrets of our Harry Potter laughing Gas with readers.
Nitrous Reduces Your Child’s Anxiety
Laughing Gas or nitrous oxide comes with a dose of extra giggles at no charge. We realize that some of our patients need to relax for dental treatments. Nitrous Oxide reigns as the dental industry gold standard for this purpose. We do not give it lightly or casually. We utilize the magic of Nitrous Oxide on an individual basis because only some children require it and only for some treatments.
- He might suggest using it if there are plans for a long dental procedure or several multiple procedures that your child needs in one appointment.
- A child who has special needs might require nitrous oxide so that he or she will tolerate the dental procedure with a minimum of discomfort.
- Time is relative. In our estimate, the dentist’s work might seem to take only a little while. However, his work time might outrun you child’s ability to sit still.
- Sometimes the doctor prescribes nitrous oxide for children who have an exceptional fear of the dentist.
Not every child requires nitrous oxide and not every dental procedure necessitates it. Thus, for your benefit as parents, we thought you might like to know more information about it.
Enchantment in a blend of Two Gasses: The Science of Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide in the dental office is actually a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. “Nitrous oxide is a colorless and virtually odorless gas with a faint, sweet smell. It is an effective analgesic/anxiolytic agent causing central nervous system (CNS) depression and euphoria with little effect on the respiratory system.”
In other words, this magic mist will make your child less fearful, more relaxed and a little happier.
The dentist administers the magic mist of nitrous oxide to your child through a small breathing mask, placed gently over his or her nose. We have heard a number of magical reasons for this. Potter fans seem to like the idea that they need a pilot’s mask for the magic mist, just in case they fly their Harry Potter brooms a little above normal Quidditch altitude.
All humor aside, we want parents and caregivers to understand that this is a very different magic than a general anesthetic. Nitrous oxide does not put your child to sleep. It is only intended to relieve them of anxiety, not consciousness. We know your child is calm, cool and comfortable when he or she feels the tiny stars twinkling in his or her hands and feet.
Nitrous Oxide: Not Anesthesia Per Se
Magic mist is not a Painkiller. Please be aware that nitrous oxide itself is not technically a substitute for local anesthetic. It is called anxiolytic. That term means it will cause anxiety to evaporate like magic. That being said, in certain procedures, due to the nitrous oxide, your child might not require an injection. If an injection is needed, then nitrous oxide makes it more comfortable for your child.
We administer it to your child through a small breathing mask we place gently over his nose. This is a very different magic than a general anesthetic that would put your child to sleep. It is only intended to relieve them of anxiety, not consciousness. The gas is continually checked and delicately adjusted so that your child breathes just enough of it to remain responsive.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recognizes the use of nitrous oxide “as a very safe, effective technique to use for treating children’s dental needs.” Let’s look at five major attributes of the gas:
1. The gas is mild and children can take it easily.
2. It is non-addictive.
3. Your child will retain all his normal reflexes and he remains conscious during the procedure.
4. Nitrous Oxide does not remain in your child’s system. Natural breathing quickly eliminates it from the human body.
A Checklist for Parents Prior to an Appointment Requiring Nitrous Oxide
Before we give your child nitrous in the dentist’s office, we need to be aware of several factors regarding your child’s health. Be sure you have filled out the paperwork that tells us about your child’s general health and medical condition. If some time has passed since you filled out a medical history, please be certain you update us concerning any changes in your child’s health.
- Please let us know if your child has a respiratory or sinus condition. If this condition causes your child to have trouble inhaling through his nose, it is vital that we know.
Tell us also if the child’s nose has been injured. For example, 9-year-old Austin broke his nose in a neighborhood football game long before he needed his dental procedure. We were afraid the nitrous might not be effective for him. However, he was quite able to inhale the doctor’s magic mist. He relaxed, thought about Harry’s chocolate frogs and his procedure went perfectly.
- Always inform us about any medication that you give your child on the day of your child’s appointment. Let us know if your child is has taken any prescription, herbal medication or even over-the-counter medicines.
A Special Note about Recent Florida and Global Events:
We would be remiss if we did not express our condolences to the people who lost family and friends in this hurricane season’s vast storms and catastrophic events. We empathize with those who lost homes and prized possessions in the wind, rain and deluge. The devastation of Harvey, Irma, and Maria will be in record books for a very long time.
Of course, the Orlando area is far inland and we were spared the full fury of the storm. Yet, we felt anxiety for other Floridians as well as for Harvey’s victims. Surely children worried in the aftermath of the storm when they saw the debris in their Orlando neighborhoods.
Likewise, power outages destroyed their schedules and routines. The US was still reeling from the from hurricane Irma’s damage when we heard the news of Maria’s attack on Dominica and the islands, and then Puerto Rico. Then came the terrible earthquake in Mexico and again we send our hearts out to victims who lost family, friends and homes.
Nitrous Oxide, Magic and Teeth: In the Aftermath of Catastrophes
At Dentistry for Children, we are specially trained in viewing the world around us through the eyes of children. We can easily imagine the stress and fear that mega-storms and natural disasters can ignite in the minds of kids.
When children are stressed, all of the team here are dismayed. So it’s no wonder that we are always delighted with the power of Dr. Troy King’s Magic Mist, his nitrous oxide. Only a few days ago, kids saw video of disasters on every television channel, evacuation plans, disrupted schedules and power outages.
And now that the storms have passed, it can be difficult for children to return to normal routines and resume good habits. Yet there is comfort in restoring regular activities to regulated times—We recommend beginning with tooth brushing, flossing and normalized bed time.
Recently, after he emerged from the dentist’s office, we gave one of our young patients a shiny new toothbrush. He pointed it right at us with an appropriate magic wand gesture. Then, eyes bright through his tiny round glasses, he instructed us in magic. Using words from J.K. Rowling, he pronounced carefully: “It’s wingardium leviOsa, not leviosAH.”
We were impressed with the amazing resilience and magic of children, as we are almost every day.
Once again, we thank you for reading the blog at Dentistry for Children, where we use the science but keep the magic. (Wings, wands and horn-rimmed glasses are always welcome .)